Subjects: Behavioral health
College students that consumed more caffeine per day than that contained in 7 cups of Joe were 3 times more likely to have visual or auditory hallucinations than age-matched controls who consumed the equivalent of less than a cup a day.
Charles Fernyhough and his team from Durham University reached these conclusions after surveying 200 students about their intake of coffee, tea, energy drinks, chocolate bars and caffeine pills.
The scientists published their findings in Personality and Individual Differences.
The most common hallucinations were seeing things that weren’t there, hearing voices and feeling like dead people were nearby.
It’s anybody’s guess unfortunately, whether caffeine is the cause or the treatment of the hallucinations, according to Fernyhough who told the BurrilReport “One interpretation may be that those students who were more prone to hallucinations used caffeine to help cope with their experiences.”
What, to speed-up the hallucinations?
The scientists speculate that caffeine, if it indeed is causal, exacerbates the physiological effects of stress including the release of cortisol. The cortisol jolt is a reasonable proximate cause of hallucinations, they say.
Also, the scientists want you to know that your hallucinations don’t necessarily mean you have a mental illness. Most people experience brief episodes of hearing voices when no one’s around, they say.